Financial Services Compensation Scheme  

FSCS pays £3m to steelworker claims against 4 firms

FSCS pays £3m to steelworker claims against 4 firms

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has paid out a total of £3m on 88 claims to former British Steel Pension Scheme members, although more are expected after its chief executive encouraged additional individuals to come forward.

MPs, steelworkers, regulators and representatives of steelworkers all met in Westminster this afternoon (February 27), with the aim of getting better compensation for steelworkers and to push the various regulators on the work they have been doing to help workers who were misadvised to transfer out of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS).

The Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Services Compensation Scheme, Financial Ombudsman Service, The Pensions Regulator and Pensions Ombudsman were all present at the roundtable.

Caroline Rainbird, chief executive of the FSCS, revealed to date the lifeboat scheme has received 110 claims of which 88 have been upheld resulting in a payout of £3m to steelworkers in relation to four advice firms.

The firms were Active Wealth, Douglas Baillie Limited, Intuitive financial Associates, and Omega Financial Solutions.

But more claims of this type are expected to fall to the FSCS as Ms Rainbird encouraged more steelworkers to come forward with claims against defunct advice firms.

The British Steel pension transfer scandal came about after members of the British Steel Pension Scheme were asked to decide what to do with their pensions as part of a restructuring process in 2017.

As a result about 8,000 members transferred out of the old scheme, with transfers collectively worth about £2.8bn.

But concerns about the suitability of the transfers were soon raised leading to an intervention from the FCA, which resulted in 10 firms - the key players in the debacle - stopping their transfer advice service.

Some of these firms regained their permissions some months later but others, such as Active Wealth, went into liquidation and claims against it have arrived at the FSCS.

The FSCS has previously reviewed its approach to calculating compensation after steelworkers and MPs complained that the method used was too narrow, focusing on the point when the workers transferred rather than looking at their "pensions journey".

When pressed on whether the FSCS would look to change its methods further Ms Rainbird said it was unable to unless new evidence came to light as compensation was given the same way industry wide and if this were to change it could open the floodgates to lots of higher payouts.

Ms Rainbird said while the steelworkers had very distressing circumstances there were not sufficient grounds to treat former BSPS members differently from any other individuals that had received unsuitable pension transfer advice.

Ms Rainbird said: “We are working with many people to get as much money back as possible. 

“We are happy to review any new and compelling evidence to understand how to better support these individuals but we must remain consistent with our principles across all consumers."

She added: “We encourage anybody here or you know who is going through similar circumstances to talk to us and contact us if you think you have a claim.”